What are some of the issues or problems these ambulance and ambulette companies face?
Ambulance clients need to understand auto liability claims versus general liability claims. The issue often comes up, when does auto liability stop and general liability start? We suggest getting both coverages from the same carrier. Otherwise, when there is a claim, two separate companies may try to deny coverage saying it is just an “auto claim” or “general claim.” So, if you have coverage for both from one source, there’s no gap.
What are the issues related to medical malpractice faced by ambulance and ambulette companies?
Medical malpractice insurance policies have various time constraints. This is especially important if a claim is after a policy is no longer in force. You need to talk to your broker about tail coverage to protect if you are sued for an event that occurred in the past and the policy that was in force then is no longer in effect today.
When clients change carriers, we take into account they need to be covered when they go from one policy to another. This should be done on your primary insurance coverage as well as subsidiary coverage such as umbrella insurance. When you switch carriers, you need to consider which carrier it is better to use for coverage for prior events. In most cases, there is a three-year statute of limitations, so this type of coverage is important. Tail coverage is expensive, but many companies feel it is worth the expense versus paying a cost lawsuit judgement. Some clients say they will self-insure for tail coverage by putting money aside. My experience is that they rarely do.
What other insurance problems can ambulance and ambulette companies avoid?
Ambulance companies sometimes use their lights and sirens to facilitate call response when it is not an emergency. They do that because they want to get there before the competition, but it can cause a “shock loss” – a loss so catastrophic that the insurance company experiences a significant Underwriting Loss. That just makes it harder and more expensive to get insurance. Don’t forget basic operating procedures. Accidents have been caused, including fatalities, from patients who are not properly strapped in.